One team that should be looking at Kovalchuk is the Devils, Jersey is in a strange position they have the 1st pick in the draft but there roster isn’t a total mess. If you add Nolan Patrick/Nico Hischier with the #1 pick you got a #1 center, then if you add Kovalchuk you have a pretty solid 1st line with those guys and Hall. Not to mention the depth they have at forward and Cory Schneider who’s an elite goalie NJ could make a huge jump next season.
Another option is Montreal, the habs need goal scorers and that’s what Kovalchuk does best. If Montreal can add Kovy and another goal scoring center they could be the best team in the Eastern Conference.
Montreal needs to get a goal scorer this offseason if they don’t they run the risk of falling out of the playoff picture. There should be two precise targets the 1st is Matt Duchene he won’t cost a ton and he can be the true #1 center the habs need. Option #2 is Ilya Kovalchuk if he decides to come back to the NHL, there is 0 doubt in my mind that Kovalchuk can still score at an elite level. If MTL can add those pieces next season might finally be the year they can put their hands on the Cup.
It really just depends on the off-season if Sweeney doesn’t do much in the free agency or the trade market then yes Cassidy will be forced to really look at the youth for major roles. I believe Sweeney knows what to expect from these 1st and 2nd year players so based on what he thinks that will decide what he has to do. There is probably a group of 3 or 4 young guys who really have a chance to crack the roster (Bjork, Debrusk, JFK) other than that it will be a similar roster to last season.
The Bruins are in an interesting spot there isn’t a clear favorite for pick #18 but I will throw some names out there of players I wouldn’t mind seeing the Bruins draft. Defenseman Nicholas Hague 6-foot-6 214-pounds, Hague isn’t a big mean tough defenseman which is strange because of his size but he is very capable of moving the puck up the ice. Having that ability and being his size could be a big get for the Bruins. Callan Foote, long time NHL star Adam Footes son I am not sure if he will still be on the board at pick #18 but he is a solid 2 way defenseman and is about as safe a pick as you can get in the middle of the 1st round.
The power play units will still be very similar to last season, My best guess for what will happen is Bjork (if he makes team as 2nd line left wing) will take Spooner’s spot on the half wall and McAvoy will replace Krug on the top unit. Krug will then be on the 2nd unit with Krejci as his point partner that gives you two really good units that you can feel comfortable with.